Beware of fake Tamiflu sold online

by Cole Petrochko

The FDA warned consumers to be alert for websites selling a fake “generic” version of the flu drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu), which may be dangerous to patients allergic to penicillin.

The Tamiflu fake does not contain the active ingredient of the drug it imitates but does contain cloxacillin, which can cause anaphylaxis in patients allergic to antibiotics in the same class as penicillin.

The FDA uncovered the mimic through purchasing the drug from an online retailer claiming to be an out-of-business drugstore, which mailed the agency a package from India, the FDA said in a prepared statement.

The drug came in two foil-backed blister packages labeled “Oseltamivir Phosphate 75 mg. Capsules TM-FLU” and containing 15 yellow and tan capsules each filled with white powder. The fraudulent pills are manufactured by TRYDRUGS Pharmaceuticals PVT. LTD. according to the sample blister pack, the agency said.

The FDA cautioned that legitimate online pharmacies exist and that consumers can protect themselves against fraudulent and potentially dangerous drugs by looking for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy Verified Internet Pharmacy Sites (VIPPS) Seal, all which are listed on the VIPPS site.

Although the one online retailer selling the drug has been identified, the FDA warned that other, less scrupulous online retailers may also sell the fake.

The FDA said it has received no adverse event reports related to the fake Tamiflu.

Patients who may have purchased the copy should contact the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations, the agency said in the statement. Those who may have taken the fraudulent drug and show signs of adverse effects should report them to the FDA’s MedWatch program.

Cole Petrochko is a MedPage Today staff writer.

Originally published in MedPage Today. Visit for more FDA news.